English theologian; d. Perugia, 1388. He was a Benedictine of ramsey abbey and was ordained on June 7,1365. He studied at Oxford (Gloucester College), becoming master in theology by 1377, and served as head of Gloucester College for many years. He became an active and bitter opponent of John wyclif when the Oxford reformer attacked monastic orders as religiones privatae. Welles, known as the "Hammer of Heretics," was one of the 12 doctors who examined the writings of Wyclif at Oxford in 1380. He took a prominent part in the council at Blackfriars, London, convened by archbishop William courtenay for suppression of Wyclifite teachings in 1382. In 1387 the provincial chapter of English Black Monks appointed him to transact its business on the Continent and to plead for the release of Cardinal adam eas ton from the papal prison in Rome. He died the following year in Perugia and was buried in the church of Santa Sabina. He was author of many sermons, letters, and polemical treatises, including: De socii sui ingratitudine, Pro religione privata, Super cleri praerogativa, and Super Eucharistiae negotio.
Bibliography: Fasciculi Zizaniorum, ed. w. w. shirley, Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores, 244 v. (London 1858–96) 5:239–241, 287, 499. h. b. workman, John Wyclif, 2 v. (Oxford 1926) 2:123–124. The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900) 20:1139–40. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 1957–59) 3:2008.
[j. a. weisheipl]